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2016-2020 NIDA Strategic Plan

Objective 1.4: Identify the bidirectional effects of drug use and common comorbidities

Addiction frequently co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders, infectious diseases, and pain conditions.8,10,68,69 The relationships between these comorbidities confer unique treatment needs on the respective patient populations. Comorbidities may also point to shared biological substrates, environmental influences, and social conditions that give rise to these disorders. For example, understanding the confluence of factors that contribute to the high rates of comorbid SUD and post-traumatic stress disorder among military populations is necessary to develop better-targeted prevention and treatment interventions for this high-risk group. Full characterization of the interactions between comorbid disorders will drive the development of improved treatment strategies for patients with complex SUD phenotypes.


  • Identify bidirectional risk factors for and impact of co-occurring psychiatric and physical health conditions (e.g., HIV, hepatitis C [HCV], pain, depression, insomnia) on addiction
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for general health comorbidities—including the newly approved HCV antiviral—in individuals with problematic drug use and SUDs
  • Identify the molecular, cellular, behavioral, and neurobiological interactions between pain and addiction
  • Characterize the bidirectional effects of common comorbidities and recovery from SUDs